The Perfect Gift

Ted Gup Discusses His Latest Book "A Secret Gift"

In this 2010 interview, Journalism Professor Ted Gup discusses his book, A Secret Gift, the true story of Depression-Era America and the amazing generosity of Gup’s grandfather, Sam Stone, who although from meager means himself gave what he could to others.

Ted Gup

Carrie Fuller

October 29, 2010

Emerson Journalism Department Chair Ted Gup has written a book that may be the perfect gift this holiday season for people of all ages—in fact the name says it all: A Secret Gift.

The book tells the story of Gup’s grandfather, Sam Stone, a real-life Secret Santa who, at the peak of the Great Depression, was an anonymous donor to those in need.

The inspiration for the book came in 2008, when Gup’s mother gave him a suitcase filled with letters written in 1933 from people across the country. The letters sent to B. Virdot, his grandfather’s pseudonym, were personal and heartfelt, and revealed how families struggled through one of the hardest economic times in United States history.

Gup says the story continues to resonate with people today. “There are many people suffering right now,” he says. “A figure most people find shocking is that there are as many people out of work today as there were in the Great Depression. And it’s not just an American recession, it’s worldwide, because we’re all economically linked.”

Throughout the holiday season Gup will be reading from A Secret Gift throughout Greater Boston at the following locations:

  • November 2, 12:00-1:00 pm; Boston Athenaeum
  • November 16, 6:30-8:30 pm; The Liberty Hotel, Boston
  • November 18, 7:00 pm; Andover Bookstore, Andover
  • November 30, time TBD; Barnes & Noble, Emerson Bookstore, Boston
  • December 8, 10:00 am; Jewish Community Center, Newton

Department of Journalism

Emerson prepares its Journalism students to achieve long-term success in many settings, including television, radio, print, and online media.


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